Pic credits: Greg Westfall

The bandage ripped. I tore it.

Here is a picture of the cat I had when I was twelve. She bit me once, so I hit her with a stick. Went into the bathroom and cried in the bathtub.

I need a new bandage. And six new teeth.

It’s cold out today and rainy too. And this is where I am. Right here in front of you – no use denying it.

Crawled out. Seventy-nine thousand of them. I got approximately eight of them as they left. Had to burrow in to get them though. Nasty but necessary.

And here is a picture of me on a swing, age eight. That’s my father standing beside the swing. Smiling and holding the AK47. Aiming right at me.

You say there is a cut – another one, here? That’s not a cut. That’s a viable escape route.

I’ll go get some Cover Girl tomorrow when some money comes in. It acts like plaster on my face so the cuts don’t show.

Seventy-five of you is not enough to understand. Or even to begin to try to. So don’t.

Check this: I went to a really good school. I wore a uniform. It was green with a yellow shirt.

I sang hymns: “All things bright and beautiful. All creatures great and small.”

I had all my teeth then. Here is a picture of that school. Red brick walls and tall narrow windows in the walls and about a hundred and fifty million of them crawling through. Right now.

I was twelve when I got thrown out of that school.

You think I don’t know what I should do? I’ve spoken with sixty-eight of them – social workers, doctors and psychiatrists, do-gooders and helpists (those are the ones on a real fucking mission). I know what I should do.

It’ll take about a hundred and fifty thousand of you to even begin to understand what this is like. And even then, you won’t. You never will. Because you are not in the Monoverse.

I had breakfast today. Track my arm. You can see the leftovers. Listen. Check this: I lived in a real house once. It had bricks and a roof. And windows. And a mother in it.

Here is a picture of that house. See the plastic wading pool in the back yard, under the apple tree? I used to pretend to swim laps in that thing. The neighbour drowned in it. Or that was me. My mother was inside, watching through the kitchen window, drinking a martini and waving and laughing.

That’s a battalion of them just under my skin now, on my left arm, causing those cuts. I don’t do it. They do. And I need a knife sometimes to get them out. I’ve had four skin grafts. Four. Ripped all of them off. Sometimes I do that. Not always. Only when they get in the way.

Monolith. You try and tear it down. You can’t, Little Monkey.

That’s what my father used to call me: Little Monkey. He didn’t know my real name.

Check this: here is a picture of my mother. That’s her throwing the grenade. That one in that picture landed in the back yard and blew up the apple tree when the cat was in it. That was intentional. I picked fur out of the grass for months. Spite is a terrible thing.

That grey car is the new grey cop car vehicle disguised as a grey family car vehicle. It comes round here every day and the cops in it think I don’t know.

Princely deceptions.

What they don’t know is: I see through the glazed windows of that car and I know how many of them there are in there, waiting for me to come out: Nine.

About fifty crawling through right now. Good thing I still have fingernails.

Fingernails are not like teeth. They are made of a different substance.

They don’t rot with abuse; they just keep growing. Even in the grave they will grow.

A shopping cart is unfortunately not opaque. Or waterproof. But put a few garbage bags on it and it will hide you from the Deception Vehicles cruising by.

Listen. I’ve been here years, so don’t fret about it. I’m a tough nut. My mother said I was and she would know. She said I was strong as an ox. I am, too. She got that right.

I can survive anything.

Tomorrow I’m going to check in. Just watch me. In a couple of months I’ll be doing secretarial work in a government agency. With dentures. You won’t recognize me.

I can change all this. I can.

I hear the president is firing a lot of people. I read the news. I keep up with it. Everything. Current events. Entertainment news. Cultural phenomena. Who’s trending. Who isn’t. Like you. You’re trending. I know who you are.

Cover that hole in your stomach. It’s radioactive. I can see gamma rays of hurt streaming out from the pit. That’s not good for your health.

Here is a picture of me holding the cat. I’m smiling in this one. That’s unique.

Now. I’ll get a knife because there are forty-three of them crawling through my wrist at this moment. I can feel them. Hatching and crawling. Know what that’s like?

Listen. At my eighth birthday party, I had a white cake with pink icing that said, “Happy Birthday Mary!” in green icing and candles shaped like Mickey Mouse and ballerinas. It was a lot like your birthday cake at the same age.

You’re leaving?

Don’t go.

If you don’t see me tomorrow, it means I’m bleeding out somewhere. Or shopping.

I won’t be here but I’ll be some place. Catch the light. It’s beautiful now the rain has stopped. Icicles falling in blue sky.


Don’t go.


Check this: it’s a picture of you.  Here you are at my birthday party grinning out at the camera. Stinking of joy. I think that’s you. You might not think it is, but it is. You’ve got my eyes. You’ve got my bones. You’ve got my blood in your mouth.

Rosalind Goldsmith is British-Canadian and currently lives in Toronto, Canada. She has written radio dramas for CBC and a play for the Blyth Theatre Festival. She has also done translation/adaptations for CBC from Spanish. She began writing short stories several years ago and has recently begun to submit her work. Her stories have appeared in the Danforth Review and the Quilliad.

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